23 February 2017
References: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio and Rep. France Castro
ACT Teachers Party-List Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro slammed the premature closing of the debates on the death penalty bill during yesterday’s plenary session.
“It is alarming that the House leadership chose to cut short the deliberations knowing that many solons lined up to express their legal and moral bases against death penalty,” said Tinio who was supposed to be next interpellator for House Bill 4727 just before the Majority Floor Leader moved to terminate the period of interpellation.
“This is a blatant disrespect to the long list of legislators who lined up to register their constituents’ views on the matter,” Tinio remarked. “It is definitely unacceptable to railroad the passage of the death penalty bill because for burning issues such as this, congressional deliberations are not just for its members alone—they are also for the people. Due to the utmost seriousness of the proposal and the public nature of our sessions, Congress owes it to the Filipino people to conscientiously discuss the issue at hand.”
“This railroading reveals that they are willing to bend their own rules just to stifle the important debate. We were about to demonstrate why the proposal violates not just international law but our very own Constitution, and why it is anti-poor, historically a tool of state repression, prone to abuse and definitely not an effective deterrent to criminality. It was disappointing for me, as a neophyte legislator, to witness democracy as the first in line on this administration’s death row,” Castro stressed.
The solons believe that the reimposition of death penalty violates the Second Optional Protocol to the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights which the Philippines ratified in 2007, binding the government not to execute anyone within its jurisdiction and to take all necessary measures to abolish the death penalty. Passage of a death penalty law also violates Article II, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution which mandates the state to adopt “the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land.”
“Ultimately, railroading of this measure by the House leadership only adds to the long list of our reasons why we will vote No,” Tinio ended. ###